NPP still questions Ibrahim Mahama’s loan
By Phyllis D. Osabutey
YOUTH OF the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is calling on government and authorities of the Social Security National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to explain the use of tax payers’ money to service a loan contracted by Mr. Ibrahim Mahama, brother of President John Mahama, from Merchant Bank (MB).
The youth are also questioning “why Mr. Mahama has blatantly failed to honour his obligations to the bank since the NDC assumed office in 2009.”
Leader of the group, who is also the National Youth Organizer of the NPP, Anthony Karbo said by 2007, there was discussion between Engineers and Planners, the company of Mr. Ibrahim Mahama and the MB in terms of the time frame within which payment was supposed to have been made.
However, in 2009, “ever since his brother became vice President, it is very strange that he stopped servicing the debt with the bank”, he noted.
He said, “We demand answers from the government and those in authority who control the public purse, because we cannot sit down and allow our parents who have contributed so much to SSNIT, hoping that they could get a happy and joyous pension’s money to be used.”
Speaking at a forum dubbed, “The People Must Know”, which has been created by the NPP youth to address critical national issues on a weekly basis, Mr. Karbo said they were not seeking to destroy, victimize or denigrate successful business men.
According to him, “This is not our vision and that is not why we are raising these issues.” He further questioned “why state institutions like SSNIT and SIC life should play lead roles in ring fencing the debt of a private citizen of Ghana.”
He said some people have argued that there was ring fencing in the Vodafone sale, saying “Yes it was ring fenced and the debt had to be absorbed. But the people of Ghana owe 30% share in Vodafone. So the state of Ghana, and the ordinary tax payer still has a claim to Vodafone.”
However, “In the case of E&P, we do not expect that the contribution of workers would be used in this way for servicing the debt of a reckless business man”, he stated.
Furthermore, he asked why “Mr. Blaise Mankwa, a former Director of Merchant Bank who got sacked by the Board of Directors for facilitating an unsecured loan to the tune of USD46.0 million to Mr. Mahama, has been rewarded with an ambassadorial position by President John Dramani”
To him, it was surprising that Mr. Jonas Koranteng Smith, the Union Chairman responsible for loan recoveries was sacked after testifying in court against Mr. Mahama’s Engineers and Planners.
“It is worthy of note that while the Labour Commission has ruled against the dismissal of this illustrious son of Ghana, who decided to be on the side of the masses, those who facilitated and orchestrated this gargantuan fraud against the Ghanaian tax payer has been rewarded with an ambassadorial position”, he observed.
He said these were critical questions to be asked because it has become necessary to safeguard the national purse and workers, and be on the side of the hardworking Ghanaians who were doing so much and contributing to a better life.
On the matter of whether MB has been sold or not, he said though government has denied selling the bank, no official document has been produced to support the claim of government, stressing, “Why has the Merchant Bank been sold in the first place?”
When a journalist pointed out that Mr. Kweku Baako, a senior journalist, who is respected for his presentation of facts, has said that the bank has not been sold, Mr. Karbo responded that the FirstRand Bank itself has stated that it had bought MB, which was also reported by Reuters, an international news cable.
Thus, “We have no course to doubt what the bank itself that is buying a share in Ghana has told the international media.” “As for our brother Kweku Baako, he has his facts and we too in the NPP have our facts. So it is left to Ghanaians to determine which of the facts is correct. I am not going to impugn his fallibility, it is his own issue. Maybe, we too are mistaken.”
It was also pointed out to the NPP youth that a member of the party, Dr. Nyaho Nyaho Tamakloe has described an earlier NPP press conference leveling corruption allegations against President Mahama in the case of the supposed sale of MB and the loan issue as “foolish and stupid.”
In response, the National Youth Organizer said, “I think that we will forgive senior members like Nyaho Tamakloe, who have been very much detached from the internal happenings of the party. We respect his views and his views stay there.”
He averred that Dr. Tamakloe is a relation of Mr. Mahama, saying “Who will not defend his relative if he buys a plane? I will defend anyone in my family who buys a plane because it is very far from here to my hometown.”
He stressed that “if Dr. Nyaho Tamakloe says that we are stupid and foolish, it is okay because this is the party he belongs to, so he is also a proud part of it. That is where we will leave it, but I believe we in the party are not going to allow anybody who has his own interest or personal affiliation with anybody to disturb our focus.”
He further noted that the few days left to the 2012 elections were going to be very engaging and anybody who causes distraction to the party would be asked to step aside and allow others to prosecute the party agenda.
According to him, it was important to make a conscious attempt to ensure that “our collective interest is not sacrificed on the altar of greed.
”In view of this, the forum for ‘the people must know’ “is asking President Mahama to help us unravel the mystery surrounding the sale of the Merchant Bank.”
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